Adept have provided civil and structural engineering services for a new state of the art school in Cookridge.

The Lighthouse School has opened following a £2.1m investment that has seen the Robert Arthington building, on the site of the former Cookridge Hospital, completely restored and redesigned to accommodate 50 pupils aged between 11 and 19. It is one of the government’s first ‘Free Schools’ in the UK to cater specifically for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or related Communication Disorders.

The school which covers a ground floor footprint of 1,525 square metres, was designed by Brewster Bye Architects. Strategic Team Group was the project’s lead contractor and Turner & Townsend project managed the development.

Katie Parlett, the Chair of Trustees and Governors at Lighthouse School, said: “It’s fantastic to see the school up and running and it’s already making a significant difference to learning outcomes and student wellbeing, due to all the specialist teaching areas that have been custom designed to match the vision and ethos of the school.”

Adept director, Richard Parker, said: “This building had been empty for many years so it was in really bad condition, which made it a challenging project from an engineering perspective. However, it immediately became apparent that we were creating something very special.”

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Mark Henderson, a director at Brewster Bye Architects, added: “Every aspect of this school was designed with its students in mind and we invited teachers to contribute to key rooms such as the science, well-being and food technology departments to ensure they are highly functional throughout. “The building is in a conservation area so there were planning constraints, but throughout the project we strived to create a high quality space, full of natural light, which takes advantage of its south facing aspect and maximises the building’s potential, whilst remaining true to its heritage.”

The school offers eight classrooms, a speech and language teaching room, an enterprise suite, therapy and fitness areas as well as food technology, drama, science, DT, ICT, vocations and arts facilities. The first floor has a dedicated sixth form area as well as an area for teaching life-skills and the top floor will provide training and meeting space.  The outdoor area will incorporate space for outside dining, a cycle track, outdoor fitness suite, sensory garden, horticulture area and a multi-use games area.

The Lighthouse is Yorkshire’s first special free school and is independent with state funding, is free to attend, and not controlled by a Local Authority. For further information visit www.lighthouseschool.co.uk